UCL Earth Sciences


GEOL0026 Earth & Planetary Materials

This module introduces the student to advanced topics in crystallography and mineral physics, in particular the use of X-ray and neutron diffraction to determine mineral structures and the effects of crystal symmetry on physical properties.

Coordinator: Prof Ian Wood

Module Details
TitleEarth and Planetary Materials
UG CodeGEOL0026
CoordinatorProf Ian Wood
Other ContributorsProf G.D. Price (for Part 2c), Dr K.S. Knight (CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)
Written Exam60%


Those taking parts 2b or 2c will be required to write an extended essay (32% of the total mark for the course).

Maths & Stats Content and Requirement 
Total Number of Hours of Student Work188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars16 (for Part 1): 8 (for Part 2a)
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes10 (for Part 1): 4 (for Part 2a)
Hours of Tutorials4 (for either Part 2b or Part 2c)
Days of Fieldwork0
Categorizing Studnet Performance Levels

The course has a common first-half which provides an introduction to the methods of crystallography and crystal structure determination. This is followed by one of three streams covering either: (a) crystal physics and its applications to Earth and Planetary forming materials, (b) structures and properties of environmental minerals, such as clays and zeolites, or (c) applications of mineralogy to rock-forming minerals.



To introduce the student to advanced topics in crystallography and mineral physics; i.e., the structures and properties of Earth and planetary materials.


Part 1: Knowledge and understanding of the techniques of X-ray and neutron diffraction; and

Part 2: Either

  1. The application of these methods, and the use of crystal physics, to the determination of thermoelastic and structural properties of Earth and planetary forming materials; 
  2. the structures and properties of minerals in surface environments and their environmental and economic importance; 
  3. the structures and properties of rock-forming minerals and their applications in geology, e.g. phase equilibria, geobarometry, etc.